Big boy; Bigger bike

Joni on bike   Joni on bike

It was a toss up who would win, and it took him five days, but today Joni has managed to tame the new bike that we gave him for his birthday on Tuesday.  We even took him and it back to the shop to ask if Charlie would recommend we change it, but as Charlie pointed it, the size down would fit him today, and next year he’d be needing another bike.  Joni was heard muttering “should have had it for Christmas, Santa would know what size I am…”  So we put some time into practising starting and stopping without falling off, and now Joni is a lot happier, and I am satisfied that he is safe to take it out into traffic. 

Fifteen friends came for a party on Friday evening.  He wanted a Tron theme, so we played with coloured torches and sparklers out in the plaza, as well as the obligatory bouncy castle. 

lighting sparklers  Sparklers  bouncy castle

I made two chocolate ring cakes, decorated them into Tron disks and joined them together to make an eight. 

Tron cake  Tron cake 

Tron cake

Cake was complemented by the usual party array, and plenty of fat salt and sugar was consumed by all. 

Eating sausages  Danny and sweets  Giving out party bags

And all that was left was the clearing up. 

Joni and bouncy castle

Culinary Moments

  • Danny says "I want a Somali…" 
  • A what? 
  • "A Somali!" 
  • You what? 
  • "That one, I want that one!" 
  • Ah, you’d like me to pass you a slice of salami? 
  • "Yes, a Somali…"

Here’s one of the best recipes I know.  Take one cup of sugar, half a cup of oil, two eggs, and a quarter of a bag of SR flour.  Beat it with a fork.  Add a bit of milk if it looks like it needs it.  Now you have the makings of the most boring sponge cake in the world.  But here comes the fun part.  Because this one will take absolutely anything you want to throw into it.   This morning I dumped in a bowl of left over porridge, a chopped pear and a spoon of cinnamon.  Other times it’s had banana, nuts, chocolate, raisins, vanilla, pineapple, a myriad of leftovers, half a roast dinner… OK maybe not the roast; I normally dump that into a pie case with a heap of vegetables, as I did for lunch today in fact. 

Meanwhile Joni handed me a cork that he had found.  “Look Mummy, that’s got to be from a good wine to have a cork like that…”  Child you’re seven years old (OK a week off eight, but even so.)  He was right too! 


Cutting edge?

One of the things that I have to do every time we’re in England is go for a trawl around a few charity shops.  My egalitarian wardrobe mostly costs around three pounds an item.  I have a little image of sweet retired ladies tagging items, with absolutely no idea of the difference in the original prices between the supermarket garments (Tesco and Asda, probably 50p less to buy new than second hand), compared with sportswear brands (Reebok, Salomon, lots of money), compared with designer wear (er… I don’t know any names but I think we’ve got the idea). 

I was thinking maybe it was time that the charity shop sector sophisticated up.  And then I figured that maybe they have.  Certainly they are more closely reflecting the original pricing structure when the clothes left the factories (next door to each other), before someone in the middle invented prices according to brand, and a whole bunch of lemmings thought it was worth paying for the labels.  (We were watching some trash TV the other day in which someone did a bunch of function comparison tests on a pair of Levi jeans vs a generic ten pound pair and discovered that the only difference was in the price tag).  In any case, I’d rather pay three quid to my local hospice than two pounds fifty to Mr Tesco.  So I’m looking at my electric eclectic three pound multi-label wardrobe and smiling. 

Nifty little link needs writing here but I haven’t yet thought of it.  So, changing the subject…  Speaking of aeroplanes… 

How about this for a mission strategy?  Take two struggling church congregations from either side of the world.  Put them in touch with each other.  Encourage them to share their joys and sorrows and to pray for each other. 

That wasn’t my idea.  But I’m loving it for it’s breath-taking simplicity and wisdom.  So we’re working on making it happen.  Being supported by a largish number of smallish UK churches has brought its own challenges.  We have also said many times that the people who we have ended up working with in Argentina would never have had access to receive “overseas missionaries” unless we had accidentally stumbled across them while looking for something else.  So wouldn’t it be great to bring both sides of our wonderfully motley bunch together. 

I like the idea that on both sides it raises awareness of mission, it answers the challenge of how we might be small but we can still do stuff, and also that it puts everyone on the same footing; scrap the “rich to poor”, “west to the rest”, “givers and receivers” and all that rubbish.  We all have needs, and we all can give.  Mission suffers from self-contradictory sillinesses; as mission organisations we say we recognise the interdependence of the global church, and yet at the same time we seem to want to make a goal of independence for the national church with which we are working.  In the end, we all need each other and we’re all dependent on a Big God, so let’s get over it and in doing so, hopefully find ways to encourage each other as fellow human beings and followers of him. 


“Give me your pastries and puddings; Give me your chocolate and cake!  For I am the Rat of the Highway, the highway, the highway – Yes, I am the Rat of the Highway and whatever I want I take”.   

The Highway Rat, by Donaldson and Scheffler, one of Danny’s all time favourite books. 

Here’s a thing about cookies that I’m thinking about at the moment… 

bankers and cookies

I like that.  I want to add not all bankers, not just bankers, anyone who is making shed loads of money at the expense of ordinary people, and (probably more importantly) not paying the corresponding amount of tax on same, vis. 23 billion pounds missing to the UK economy from 700 named companies.  And then the other side of the coin, the propaganda machine run jointly between politicians looking to pass the buck, and overpaid owners of tax-avoiding media corporations playing the fears of their readership by selling an easy story. 

I continually feel like I’m nibbling at the edges and not having enough impact on the real issues of justice and injustice.  And as for unknotting the macramé between culture and injustice…  There’s a blog in there but it keeps threatening to turn into a book and I don’t have time to write one of those for the next umpty years and I will probably never be able to afford to do a PhD. 

Meanwhile on small injustices closer to home, I received a phone call from the Teen hostel yesterday morning to tell me off for a whole bunch of things and to tell Teen off for a whole bunch of other things, none of which appear to be justified.  So we went to the hostel yesterday afternoon, which turned into a repeat of the same unhelpful conversation that we had already had by phone.  So I tracked down the psychologist this morning.  She is helpful, and she attends the hostel but she’s not employed by them, so she’s inside but outside, and she promised to kick ass in the nicest possible sense on our behalf.  The interesting part once I stopped being annoyed, was reflecting on how I found myself absolutely coming out in defence of Teen and what I perceived to be injustice directed at her.  Until now it has normally been us seeking outside support to deal with her colourful behaviours.  So that’s good, apart from the injustice part. 

This afternoon I set off to locate our favourite / least favourite bag lady.  She comes and annoys me, so I give her things to stop her from annoying me.  And then I’m annoyed because she comes back and wants me to give her more things to stop her from annoying me.  I am challenged to move this relationship onto a different footing by getting to know her.  This might be tricky because I think she’s used to the world being annoyed with her and she knows how to make that work.  I found where I think she is currently staying, but either she wasn’t there or wasn’t answering.  So I plan to go back another day and take cookies.